May 15th 2022

Catherine Schwalbe: Flock

@ Riverside Arts Center FlexSpace

32 E Quincy St, Riverside, IL 60546

Opening Sunday, May 15th, from 3PM - 6PM

On view through Saturday, June 25th

Catherine Schwalbe
Flock – FlexSpace Solo Exhibition
Opening Reception: Sunday, May 15th 3-6PM
Exhibition continues through June 25th
Mending Workshop: Saturday, June 4th
Gallery Hours: Thursday-Saturday 1-5PM

The Riverside Arts Center is pleased to present Flock, a site-specific installation by Catherine Schwalbe in our FlexSpace.

Catherine Schwalbe writes:
More and more deeply, I realize that we are nature. So many of us cite “nature” as inspiration for our work. I have for years. I am feeling the need to update my own words to reflect my current thoughts and therefore my works, and this work, in particular. I look out my own window and appreciate the most common of birds – the sparrow, the American robin (my favorite), crows, to the occasional oriole, and the Coopers Hawk that visited this winter. My interest in the natural world, a trip to Maine last year (to the Puffin sanctuary), life near the Chicago River North Branch with countless heron, snapping turtles, and napping coyote, Purple martins at Montrose Beach, a bluebird on a country road in Wisconsin, living under the migration flight path of whooping cranes, and so much more, have enriched my life beyond words. My mind swims with prior, old school Chicago Reader, columns called Field and Street by Jerry Sullivan. His weekly missives centered on city life and wildlife within and helped me pay attention to my surroundings in new, fulfilling, and urban ways.

The installation is also founded on my need to honor my work with and for the many elders and those that serve them. Forty-two years as a recreation therapist and early, as a paraprofessional, in long term care have grounded me and helped me practice what my own aging process might be like.

July 1, 2021 marked my last day working as a consultant in dozens of long term care communities filled with hundreds of fellow humans that lived, worked, and visited those communities. Most know the (continued) devastation of Covid on these communities and we fellow humans. We are not yet in the after times to fully understand what we have been through. Time will afford that understanding and perspective for us, when our minds and hearts will be less clouded by trauma.

Cranes, long a symbol for elders in some cultures, may also be what comes to mind with you as it has come to mine.I think of human migration over the millennia due to war, famine, weather, opportunity. We too have ebbs and flows to our behavior because of needs and wants, just like all the other creatures on this globe.

Catherine Schwalbe is a Chicago-based artist, originally from rural WIsconsin. Her social practice art centers around issues and aesthetics related to food systems, water, agriculture, reuse, connection, and being human.

Schwalbe received a BFA in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with additional education through Artist Bookworks, Columbia College for the Book and Paper Arts, Lillstreet Art Center, and Chicago Industrial Arts and Design Center. Her previous role as a part-time Recreation Therapist/Consultant, contributes to her social practice art, combining her art, caring, and engaging others.

Among numerous exhibitions throughout the country, Schwalbe’s mixed media sculptures, installations, and site specific works, have been exhibited locally at Oliva Gallery, the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Accolades include a CAAP grant and reviews in Lumpen and Chicago Art Magazine.

Schwalbe creates at her home-based Haptic Studios and in a clay-centric studio at Lillstreet Art Center.


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